NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some States And Counties Far From Y2K Compliant

December 29, 1998

With only a year to go until the year 2000 arrives, many states and local governments are so far behind in preparing their computers to recognize 00 as 2000 -- rather than as 1900 -- that analysts predict a breakdown in certain public services is inevitable.

While 911 emergency telephone lines and prison control systems are getting priority attention, payroll systems, traffic lights and water plants are vulnerable.

  • Officials in Arkansas, Alabama, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina admit they have completed no work on the Y2K bug.
  • Georgia at 10 percent completed, Indiana at 14 percent, and Alaska, Idaho and Wyoming at 15 percent are not in much better shape.
  • The National Association of Counties recently reported that only half of the nation's 3,069 counties have begun addressing the problem.
  • Costs are the major obstacle -- since counties will need about $1.7 billion for software fixes and states will have to spend as much as $3 billion.

Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Minnesota, West Virginia, Mississippi and Oklahoma are all at least three-quarters of the way to being compliant. But even if they fully meet their goals in time, they are still at the mercy of federal government preparedness -- as well as other entities with which they interact.

Source: Jim Carlton, "Year-2000 Problem Is Bearing Down on Certain States," Wall Street Journal, December 29, 1998.


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